Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sea Water Under Shelf in the East Antarctic is Still Freezing

Sea water under an East Antarctic ice shelf showed no sign of higher temperatures, first tests showed today.

Despite fears of a thaw linked to global warming that could bring higher world ocean levels, tests conducted on the Fimbul Ice Shelf showed the sea water is still around freezing point.

Thanks to sensors, lowered through three holes drilled in the shelf, scientists have discovered the water is not at higher temperatures widely blamed for the break-up of 10 shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly part of the frozen continent.

After drilling through the shelf, which is between 250 metres and 400 metres thick, Ole Anders Noest of the Norwegian Polar Institute wrote in a statement: 'The water under the ice shelf is very close to the freezing point. This situation seems to be stable, suggesting that the melting under the ice shelf does not increase.'

The Institute said the water under the Fimbul was about -2.05 degrees Celsius (28.31 Fahrenheit) - salt water freezes at a slightly lower temperature than fresh water. This was slightly icier than estimates in a regional computer model for Antarctica, said Nalan Koc, head of the Norwegian Polar Institute's Centre for Ice, Climate and Ecosystems.

'The important thing is that we are now in a position to monitor the water beneath the ice shelf,' she told Reuters.

'If there is a warming in future we can tell.'

She said data collected could go into a new report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due in 2013-14.

The last IPCC report, in 2007, did not include models for sea temperature around the Fimbul Ice Shelf. It is doubtful that the new data will be included in the next report either as it conflicts with the outcomes required by the IPCC.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1242398/Now-tests-ice-ISNT-melting-Sea-water-shelf-East-Antarctic-freezing.html#ixzz0cSCvC894

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